MLB: The most valuable right fielders of 2019

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes a catch on the wall on a hit by Howie Kendrick #47 of the Washington Nationals for an out in the fourth inning of game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes a catch on the wall on a hit by Howie Kendrick #47 of the Washington Nationals for an out in the fourth inning of game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

7. Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins, $9.092 million value; $6 million salary

Kepler basically divided his outfield time moving from right to center when Byron Buxton was injured. He was, however, a corner outfielder for more than half the season.

The 2019 MLB season was Kepler’s best offensively. His.252 batting average, 36 home runs and .855 OPS were all personal bests. They translated to a 4.0 WAR, tying for sixth best at the position and valued at $7.493 million.

Kepler’s defensive numbers moderated his offensive value. He played 1,111 innings, 15th best and measuring out to $1.382 million in value.  As a right fielder, he only delivered two assists, tying for 27th best and worth a final $218,000 that settled him in eighth place overall.

The Twins have committed to Kepler. Prior to the 2019 season, they signed him to a deal that will pay him amounts up to $10 million through 2024. Assuming his production holds – and with the possibility that it increases – that will be a value in a few seasons. Judging from his 2019 numbers, Twins management is already ahead of the game.

Uncertain over Buxton’s 2020 status – he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in September – the Twins depth chart presently plugs Kepler in as a center fielder for 2020. That’s probably not an ideal situation, but if Buxton does return it would not be difficult to move Kepler back to right.